Chrissy Teigen on Postpartum Depression
Chrissy Teigen's "Open Letter" on Her Struggles With Postpartum Depression Is a Must-Read
Throughout her pregnancy and motherhood journey, Chrissy Teigen has been refreshingly honest about her experiences. From getting real about the difficulties of IVF to capturing the humor in stretchmarks and leaking boobs, this model and author is known to be a "chronic oversharer" in the best — and funniest — ways possible.
However, there's one relatable difficulty that Chrissy hadn't revealed until now: her struggle with postpartum depression. Although Chrissy and her husband, John Legend, welcomed their baby girl, Luna, in April 2016, she revealed for the first time in Glamour's April 2017 issue, on newsstands March 14, that she developed this common condition (which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in nine women struggle with).
In her raw essay, Chrissy revealed why she waited to share her struggle in addition to other honest details about her recovery. "What basically everyone around me — but me — knew up until December was this: I have postpartum depression. How can I feel this way when everything is so great?" she wrote. "But it's such a major part of my life and so, so many other women's lives. It would feel wrong to write anything else."
Over the last year, Chrissy and those who loved her realized that since giving birth, she has been different than she was before and she doesn't want to keep that fact hidden anymore:
- On the physical pain: "My lower back throbbed; my shoulders — even my wrists — hurt. I didn't have an appetite. I would go two days without a bite of food, and you know how big of a deal food is for me. One thing that really got me was just how short I was with people."
- On never leaving the house: "Most days were spent on the exact same spot on the couch and rarely would I muster up the energy to make it upstairs for bed. John would sleep on the couch with me, sometimes four nights in a row. I started keeping robes and comfy clothes in the pantry so I wouldn't have to go upstairs when John went to work. There was a lot of spontaneous crying."
- On feeling utterly unhappy: "I couldn't figure out why I was so unhappy. I blamed it on being tired and possibly growing out of the role: 'Maybe I'm just not a goofy person anymore. Maybe I'm just supposed to be a mom.'"
- On finally figuring it out: "Before the holidays I went to my GP for a physical. John sat next to me. I looked at my doctor, and my eyes welled up because I was so tired of being in pain. Of sleeping on the couch. Of waking up throughout the night. Of throwing up. Of taking things out on the wrong people. Of not enjoying life. Of not seeing my friends. Of not having the energy to take my baby for a stroll. My doctor pulled out a book and started listing symptoms. And I was like, 'Yep, yep, yep.' I got my diagnosis: postpartum depression and anxiety."
- On being honest: "I started taking an antidepressant, which helped. And I started sharing the news with friends and family — I felt like everyone deserved an explanation, and I didn't know how else to say it other than the only way I know: just saying it. It got easier and easier to say it aloud every time. (I still don't really like to say, "I have postpartum depression," because the word depression scares a lot of people. I often just call it 'postpartum.' Maybe I should say it, though. Maybe it will lessen the stigma a bit.)"
- On why she never thought it could happen to her: "I looked at Luna every day, amazed by her. So I didn't think I had it. I also just didn't think it could happen to me. I have a great life. I have all the help I could need: John, my mother (who lives with us), a nanny. But postpartum does not discriminate. I couldn't control it. And that's part of the reason it took me so long to speak up: I felt selfish, icky, and weird saying aloud that I'm struggling. Sometimes I still do."
- On why she's speaking out: "Plenty of people around the world in my situation have no help, no family, no access to medical care. I can't imagine not being able to go to the doctors that I need. It's hurtful to me to know that we have a president who wants to rip health care away from women. I look around every day and I don't know how people do it. I've never had more respect for mothers, especially mothers with postpartum depression. I'm speaking up now because I want people to know it can happen to anybody and I don't want people who have it to feel embarrassed or to feel alone."